The combination of inspiration and encouragement can be a powerful force.
And Hoda Kotb got confirmation of that on the TODAY plaza Wednesday morning. While the co-hosts were gathered outside Studio 1A, Craig Melvin approached a young man in the crowd who sported a big smile, and he asked him to share a little something about himself.
"I’m a junior at Baylor," the student named Nolan replied. "And I’m studying journalism."
Then he revealed just what — and who — put him on that path.
"I wrote in to Hoda," he said of a letter he penned 10 years ago. "Hoda inspired me to become a journalist, and that’s why I’m pursuing my career."
Hoda, who got her degree in broadcast journalism 36 years ago at Virginia Tech, overheard Craig and Nolan's conversation, and it clearly came as a moving surprise to her.
"You were gracious enough to write back, and I was struck," Nolan said as he locked eyes with the woman who helped him figure out his career path. "I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness! Hoda wrote back.' I was so happy. I was like, ‘Hoda, my favorite!’"
Hoda and Nolan shared a big hug as she turned her thoughts to where the future might take him.
"We’ll keep our eye on you, OK?" she told him. "What a kid. Thank you. That was sweet."